How Do You Measure Your Fitness: The Cooper Test

How Do You Measure Your Fitness? Fitness test evokes painful recollections of running back and forth and hearing bleeps during a physical education class in school, we can sympathize. Before being able to take charge of our own physical exercise regimens in the gym and at home, much of our activity was governed by physical education teachers and athletic instructors, most of whom gave directives that induced belligerent reactions.

However, don’t switch it off completely. Tests that gauge your fitness level are an excellent way to determine how far along you’ve come in achieving your objectives, or – if you don’t have any targets – to establish standards for where to aim for in the future. Whether you have been going about it systematically or more spontaneously, there is a test of fitness for any activity.

Why is it so important to do Fitness Tests?

Exercise is fun, right? Right. However, our motivation tends to decrease if we are continually working without any idea if our efforts are being rewarded in any way.

Examining our fitness in monitored settings, and investing the necessary energy to document our progress and preserve consistent parameters, can help to disrupt the habit of lack of variety in our exercise routine and demotivation to work out.

Quite a few people use the way they look or their energy level to measure if they have progressed in fitness, health and strength, however, fitness evaluations can provide a clearer response and can also help set up a benchmark for improvement.

It is important to gauge your physical condition, both in regards to cardio and muscular strength, so that you can understand how close you are to achieving your objectives and also to keep yourself encouraged in working toward them.

If you have been working out regularly and do not see any changes, getting a fitness assessment could be the factor that motivates you to try something new. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. By assessing your proficiency you can adjust your preparation accordingly.

What are the most common Fitness Tests?

Testing your fitness can fall into five main categories:

  • cardiovascular endurance (e.g. running)
  • muscular strength (e.g powerlifting)
  • muscular endurance (e.g. functional fitness)
  • flexibility
  • body composition (the ratio of fat to muscle mass you have)

The goals you set will dictate which tests you use to measure them, but there are tests available for all of them. Make sure to choose one appropriate for your goals.

How often should you test your Fitness? 

If you are following a consistent workout routine, it would be beneficial to measure your progress every 6-8 weeks. This period allows your body to adjust to training, enabling your cardiovascular system or muscles (based on your objectives and testing) to build strength/endurance.

The consequence of testing too often is that it can cause feelings of discouragement. Frequently testing can be disheartening, particularly if the progress you want to see doesn’t occur promptly, as some enhancements may need a while to be accomplished.

Variables that can impact the accuracy of your results

The amount of time it is, your previous meal, the atmosphere outside and how well you snoozed the preceding night, numerous aspects can have an impact on your achievement on the test.

It is crucial to consider your menstrual cycle while exercising as changes in hormones affect how much energy your body has. The impacts of their decisions may determine how your body responds to distinct kinds of workouts and when is the ideal time for rest days to maximize the advantage of recuperation.

To ensure that the results are as precise as can be, it is recommended to take the test at the same time and after eating the same type of food. It is recommended to try to do something at the same stage of your process.

Are Fitness Tests an accurate way to Measure Fitness?

It is vital to ensure that the conditions of the trial and the second attempt are the same to secure accurate outcomes. Performance can be affected by numerous factors, even if you do not consider yourself an athlete.

What Is The Cooper Test?

The Cooper test is implemented to evaluate an individual’s cardiovascular endurance or estimated maximum oxygen consumption. It was designed by Kenneth H. Cooper created something for the US Military in 1968 and this has been taken up by multiple trainers in multiple sports over the years.

The performance of an athlete is significantly affected by how well the cardiovascular system works. Providing muscle tissues with a steady stream of oxygen is sometimes known as aerobic potential.

Assessing a person’s aerobic capacity accurately can be done by having them push their body to its full capacity. One of the most popular terms in the field of sports science used to describe an athlete’s aerobic capacity is VO2 max.

VO2 Max – What Is It?

The greatest amount of oxygen utilized during a period of progressive exertion is referred to as VO2 max. It shows how well someone uses oxygen while exercising.

One of the most popular ways to approximate the VO2 max that would typically require laboratory testing is the Cooper Test. Unfortunately, laboratory testing is expensive; however, several other aerobic tests are available to gauge this metric.

Its success is associated with how uncomplicated it is to do the procedure with only the basic supplies necessary, it can be done independently, and it is rather uncomplicated to understand the outcomes of the exam.

Measurements of values expressed either in litres of oxygen per minute (l.min-1) or relative to an individual’s body weight ( are the units used.

The typical amount of oxygen processed by the average unattached man of youth is estimated at 3.5 litres every minute or 45, while the baseline figure of young untrained women would have a lower count of approximately 2.0 litres/minute or 38

The amount of VO2 max at the top tier of abilities differs between sports.

Cross-country skiers demonstrate the highest scores in endurance exercises, as top-level cyclists and athletes normally surpass 80 and even occasionally get over 90 Female endurance athletes of the highest calibre have achieved rates higher than 70 millilitres per kilogram per minute.

How To Perform The Cooper Test

One should keep in mind that the Cooper test requires running as far as you can in 12 minutes, and it is not too difficult to perform.

Tips for Running Your Cooper Test:

  1. Warm-up: Before starting the test, ensure that you warm up for 20-30 minutes, including light jogging and strides to get the body prepared.
  2. Course: The test should ideally be carried out on a standard 400m running track, or find an accurately measured flat course of the same distance (using your GPS watch).
  3. Visuals: Put a visual aid (a cone or a water bottle) at the 200m point of the lap, to assist with pacing and help determine the total distance covered.
  4. Timing: You could use a 12-minute countdown function on your watch if performing the test on your own. This way you can focus on keeping count of the laps and then you can stop the test once your watch beeps. Alternatively, if you have someone helping record the test, they can set you off and keep count of the laps and time.

How To Calculate Your 12-Minute Run Cooper Test Results

Once you have done the assessment, you can work out your likely VO2 max with the aid of these equations.

Your VO2 max is equal to (22.4 x the number of kilometres you’ve travelled) minus 11.3.

Miles: Maximum oxygen uptake is equal to (36 multiplied by your running distance in miles) minus 11.3.

How To Structure Your Training Around Your Cooper Test Result

It is typically suggested that the testing period is during the beginning of the cross-country season which is normally around September to October in the northern hemisphere; however, the test can be done at any time of the year.

This will give the athlete and coach an indication of their current physical condition and serve as a basis for forming a customized exercise program.

After the test, calculate your speed per 400m lap. For example, travelling 3200m would take 90 seconds per 400m. A typical week based on the test result would include:

  • Run three times the distance covered in 45 minutes. For example – 3.2k run on test = 9.6k in 45 mins.
  • 3 x 2k at the speed with a 90 secs rest. For example – 3.2k run on test = 90 secs/400m = 2k in 7.30 mins x 3 with 90 secs rest.
  • Run a series of 200m at a pace of 8 seconds per 200m faster than the test run speed. For example, 3.2k run on test = 90 secs/400, when halved = 45 secs minus 8 seconds = 37 secs/200m. Start with 8 reps of the 200s and build up to 16 over 2 months.

To achieve the maximum benefit from your training, it is best to use an organized and sensible plan. Additionally, you should step up your training over a couple of months with a 10 per cent boost in two months.

Cooper Test Alternatives – Other Tests To Measure Your Fitness

Other widely-used assessments for gauging aerobic fitness can be utilized in place of the Cooper Test. It must be reiterated that more equipment, help from other people, and conceivably needing to possess access to certain indoor sports complexes will be necessary.

1. Bleep test

The Bleep Test, or Multi-Stage Fitness Test, is a widely used physical evaluation. In the Bleep Test, you run back and forth for 20m before the sound of a beep is heard. This is a great way to determine your cardiovascular health.

2. 60-second test

A physical assessment of your strength and endurance can be gauged in a brief 60 seconds with the push-up test. A superb and speedy option to test your capabilities recall that ideal form push-ups should be your primary focus. Half-arsed ones done with poor form don’t count.

3. One rep max test

This evaluation is an excellent way to assess the power of various muscle groups. It’s up to you to decide which part of your body you want to examine.

4. Press-up test

This assessment is an excellent indicator of upper-body stamina but also illustrates whole-body strength, as it puts pressure on the core and hips.

5. EMOM (every minute on the minute) challenge

EMOM exercises are regularly performed within the Crossfit realm, but do you comprehend that they are remarkable for measuring your muscular and cardiovascular stamina also? This exercise session will really get your pulse going – just ensure to maintain putting in maximum effort for its entirety. It is a test, after all.

6. Astrand Treadmill

The globally renowned name in the field of physiology, Per-Olof Astrand, is renowned for his treadmill test, which has been extensively used and referenced. The trial requires a person to keep moving at the same speed while increasing the incline of the surface by 2.5% every two minutes until they can no longer continue.

7. 15 Minutes Balke Test

Many running coaches are fans of the 15-minute Balke Test. This test is referred to as the Balke Test, named after the designer Bruno Balke, and shares many similarities to the Cooper Test. The participant has to run as far as possible in 15 minutes on a running track or an even, properly-measured surface.

Final Thoughts On The Cooper Test

No matter which trails you pick to do, it is critical to recall that if you repeat it 12 weeks later, you should try to escalate the distance covered by around 5 to 10%.

It seems that if you haven’t had any breaks in your training due to injury or other disruptions, then your workout regimen has been put together properly and you have been running at a good rate to help maximize your VO2 max.

The old adage goes: If you keep doing what you always do, you’ll stay exactly the same.


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